Report your car accident when you can, No ifs no buts!

Published 22 Feb 2016

The preliminary steps required to be taken in ensuring that your legal rights are protected for injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident commence from the very moment following the accident, particularly in minor motor vehicle accidents when the ambulance and police are not required to attend to the scene. Many road users tend to believe that their rights are secured and protected upon the moment they obtain the driver’s licenses and insurance details of the driver at fault.

Although, this is generally the common practice exercised, the reporting requirement pursuant to section 70 of the Motor Accidents Compensation Act 1999 (NSW) obliges that:

  1.  unless a police officer attended the motor accident, a motor accident that gives rise to a claim must be reported to a police officer by or on behalf of the claimant within 28 days after the motor accident. This requirement is referred to in this section as the police accident report requirement.

From our vast experience in motor vehicle accident claims, we have encountered many injured claimants in minor accidents who were unaware or did not have the knowledge about the reporting requirement to the police. In contrast, some claimants had simply overlooked the reporting requirement, on the assumption that they had not suffered any immediate injuries from the accident, until they start to experience the complaints of latent symptoms caused by the impact of the accident.

However, injured claimants should not be extremely alarmed or concerned if they had not complied with the police accident report as section 70(2) permits a claimant to provide to the insurer a full and satisfactory explanation for any non-compliance with the police accident report requirement.

That being said, it would certainly not be harmful or detrimental to ensure that you exercise steps to report the accident to your local police station within 28 days from the accident if the police had not attended to the accident scene. This would certainly save you from the trouble and stresses of providing a full and satisfactory explanation to the insurer.